Top of the Morning, March 30, 2014

Top of the Morning, March 30, 2014

They usually meet every other Tuesday.

But tonight at the Vineyard Church in Urbana, participants in the Single Mom Ministry (SMM) have agreed to a bonus get-together to watch Oprah — and perhaps themselves — on TV.

"We don't know exactly what to expect," said Katie Goulet, women's pastor at Vineyard who has overseen SMM since its inception in September. "But it's pretty exciting.

"When Oprah calls, what can you say?"

On Tuesday, Goulet and 32 members of her SMM accepted Oprah's invitation to attend the taping of "Oprah Prime," which airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey Network. They left Urbana in church vans at 4 a.m., reached the downtown Chicago studio in time for breakfast and then watched as Oprah and Maria Shriver chatted up Katrina Gilbert, whose story is featured in the film "Paycheck to Paycheck."

"They were looking for women who made $30,000 or less that could be part of the audience and perhaps be interviewed," Goulet said. "Most of my single moms fit in that category."

The episode — "Paycheck to Paycheck Town Hall" — has a C-U flavor. Select audience members were asked to share their story, and C-U's Terri Daniels was among those spotlighted. Also, SMM's Jamie Rhoades was asked to participate in an extra session that Goulet was told might be part of the program.

Airtime or not, the experience was fantastic, Goulet said.

"It was neat to be part of," she said. "It's Oprah. It was interesting to see how the show came together. And I think they felt honored and empowered because there were other women willing to talk about the subject of living paycheck to paycheck, saying that it is a problem and that it is an issue."